Happy Apple: Please Refrain From Fronting (2001)
Just imagine if drummer, Keith Moon (“The Who”) and bassist, Jaco Pastorious (“Weather Report”) were still alive and had decided to align their acute and chops heavy rhythmic wares for a modern/free jazz outing. Well, these are the far flung notions conjured up while listening to the Minneapolis-based trio, “Happy Apple.”
Following up the band’s well-received, Body Popping, Moon Walking, Top Rocking recording, this new release proposes somewhat of an extension to the musicians’ now customary high powered rhythms, swiftly executed shifts in strategy and mood-evoking themes. With, “You & Mattel vs. Me & Coleco”, saxophonist Michael Lewis injects Bop-ish lines into a mix consisting of the rhythm sections’ reverberating undercurrents along with the trio’s seamlessly rendered micro-themes. Overall, the ensemble effectively rattles your senses.
The band engages in controlled explorations via unassuming deviations, hard-rock straight four rhythms, difficult to perform time signatures and tightly coordinated arrangements, although they periodically tone the proceedings down a few notches. Besides the rather eccentric song titles, “Happy Apple” offers a heated mix, teeming with razor sharp soloing, whirlwind intensity and bountiful storylines. Hence, this outfit skirts the bleeding edge of modern jazz, amid a few steamy nods to progressive rock. Recommended.
Track Listing: Take Wes Chandler For Instance; You & Mattel vs. Me & Coleco; Who Is your Midwest Representation?; November; The Invitation Has Become; A Waltz For The Few Remaining; Homage Ritchie Valens; Acknowledge The Ascot; Koala Bear Wearing A T-Shirt With Your Corporate Logo; Buffalo
Personnel: Erik Fratzke; Fender bass: Michael Lewis; tenor, alto & soprano saxophones: David King; walkie talkies, drums & cymbals
Record Label: Happy Apple Music
Style: Modern Jazz